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Recently we have commissioned several paintings and pencil drawings featuring the most famous bombing raid of the second world war.  The Dambusters Raid of May 1943 went down in history as one of the most audacious missions of the war.  The Lancasters of No.617 Squadron dropped specially design ordnance - the famous 'bouncing' bombs' - to breach the dams and wreak havoc on the industrial heartland of the Reich.

These newly commissioned paintings and drawings depic key moments, aircraft, pilots and crew from that historic night.  Artist David Pentland's work includes some pencil drawings of the aircraft alongside a portrait of its pilot.  The raids on the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams are all shown here, as well as artwork showing the trips to and from the target at the lowest possible heights.  

 

A Lucky Escape by Ivan Berryman
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Flying low across the North Sea en route to the Sorpe Dam on the night of 16th/17th May 1943 as part of Operation Chastise, Flying Officer Geoff Rice’s Lancaster ED936(G) clipped a large wave, ripping the Upkeep bomb from its mountings and pitching the aircraft into the sea. Somehow, in just a split second, Rice managed to haul AJ-H back into the air, but the aircraft had ingested a huge amount of water and, as Rice put his Lancaster into a climb to head back to Scampton, rear gunner Sgt S Burns and his turret were almost swept away as the water rushed to the back of the aircraft. AJ-H returned to Scampton otherwise unscathed and took no further part in the Dams Raids.

Crew of H for Harry :

Pilot : Plt Off G Rice
Flight Engineer : Sgt E C Smith
Navigator : Flg Off R MacFarlane
Wireless Operator : WO C B Gowrie
Bomb Aimer : WO J W Thrasher
Front Gunner : Sgt T W Maynard
Rear Gunner : Sgt S Burns.

Sadly, just 7 months later, all of this crew except for pilot Rice were killed when their Lancaster DV398 (KC-Z) was hit by flak and broke up over Belgium on the night of 20th - 21st December 1943. Rice evaded capture for 4 months before becoming a PoW.

 

 

The Eder Breaks by Ivan Berryman
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The success of the attack on the Möhne dam on the night of 16th/17th May 1943 meant that the remaining three 617 Sqn Lancasters of the First Wave could turn their attention to the Eder, some twelve minutes flying time away.  Wing Commander Guy Gibson first called in Flight Lieutenant D J Shannon, flying AJ-L (ED929G) to make the initial run, but he had great difficulty achieving the correct height and approach, so Gibson now ordered Squadron Leader H E Maudslay in AJ-Z (ED937G) to make his run.  Again, the aircraft struggled to find the correct height and direction, so Shannon was again brought in, AJ-L finally releasing its <i>Upkeep</i> on the third attempt. The bomb bounced twice before exploding with no visible effect on the dam. Now Maudslay made another attempt, but released his bomb too late.  The mine bounced off of the dam wall and exploded in mid air right behind AJ-Z, the Lancaster limping away, damaged, from the scene, only to be shot down on the way home with the loss of all crew.  Finally, Pilot Officer Les Knight was called in for one final attempt. AJ-N (ED912G) released its <i>Upkeep</i>  perfectly, the mine bouncing three times before striking the dam slightly to the south.  In the ensuing explosion, the dam was seen to shake visibly before the masonry began to crumble and a massive breach appeared.  With the Möhne and Eder dams both destroyed and the Sorpe demonstrated to be equally vulnerable, <i>Operation Chastise</i> had been a remarkable success and will stand forever as one of the most heroic and audacious attacks in the history of aerial warfare.

Crew of N for Nan :

Pilot : Plt Off L G Knight
Flight Engineer : Sgt R E Grayston
Navigator : Flg Off H S Hobday
Wireless Operator : Flt Sgt R G T Kellow
Bomb Aimer : Flg Off E C Johnson
Front Gunner : Sgt F E Sutherland
Rear Gunner : Sgt H E O'Brien

 

 

Raining Fire by Ivan Berryman
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Flying impossibly low en route to the Sorpe Dam on the night of 16th/17th May 1943 as part of Operation Chastise, Flight Sergeant Ken Brown’s Lancaster ED918(G) encountered a number of German trains. On three occasions, AJ-F’s nose and tail gunners (Sgt D Allaston, front and F/Sgt G S MacDonald, rear) opened fire, pouring shells and hot tracer rounds into the lumbering locomotive and its rolling stock, wreaking havoc along the way. ED918(G) eventually arrived at the Sorpe Dam at 3.00am where it successfully released its Upkeep bomb, but without breaching the dam.  Brown and his crew returned safely, their aircraft riddled with holes, perhaps partially due to their route home taking them over the breached Mohne Dam, where they briefly exchanged gunfire with the German batteries there.

Crew of F for Freddie :

Pilot : Flt Sgt K W Brown
Flight Engineer : Sgt H B Feneron
Navigator : Sgt D P Heal
Wireless Operator : Sgt H J Hewstone
Bomb Aimer : Sgt S Oancia
Front Gunner : Sgt D Allatson
Rear Gunner : Flt Sgt G S MacDonald

 

 

Tragedy Above Hamm by Ivan Berryman
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Whilst en route to the Ruhr on the night of 16th/17th May 1943 as part of Operation Chastise, Lancaster AJ-C received 20mm hits to the starboard inner engine which immediately burst into flames. Pilot Officer Warner Ottley realised instantly that all hydraulic power was knocked out and the aircraft began a lurid descent toward the ground, Ottley’s final words over the intercom being Sorry boys. They got us. When ED910(G) impacted with the ground, its tail sheared off and the rear turret, including Sgt Fred Tees survived the conflagration. Tees was quickly taken prisoner, no doubt mindful of the tragic fact that he had swapped his front turret for the rear with Sgt Harry Strange before take-off. All the other crew members sadly perished.

Crew of C for Charlie :

Pilot : Plt Off W H T Ottley
Flight Engineer : Sgt R Marsden
Navigator : Flg Off J K Barrett
Wireless Operator : Sgt J Guterman
Bomb Aimer : Flt Sgt T B Johnston
Front Gunner : Sgt H J Strange
Rear Gunner : Sgt F Tees.

 

 

Not This Time by Ivan Berryman
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Having arrived at the Eder dam, following the successful breaching of the Mohne on the night of 16th/17th May 1943, Wing Commander Guy Gibson put Flight Lieutenant D J Shannon, flying ED929G, to the task of making the first attack, but he had great difficulty achieving the correct height and approach and had to make a number of abortive runs before finally releasing his Upkeep bomb. AJ-L is shown here making his penultimate pass over the Eder wall, his mine still attached. This dam was eventually breached by Pilot Officer Les Knight, flying ED912(G) whose perfectly placed mine caused a massive breach in the south end of the dam.

Crew of L for Leather :

Pilot : Flt Lt D J Shannon
Flight Engineer : Sgt R J Henderson
Navigator : Flg Off D R Walker
Wireless Operator : Flg Off B Goodale
Bomb Aimer : Flt Sgt L J Sumpter
Front Gunner : Sgt B Jagger
Rear Gunner : Flg Off J Buckley.

 

 

Dambusters - The First Wave by Ivan Berryman
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En route to the dams of the Ruhr Valley, the first wave of three specially adapted Avro Lancasters roar across the Dutch wetlands on the night of 16 -17th May 1943 led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, their mission to breach the Mohne and Eder dams, thus robbing the German war machine of valuable hydro-electric power and disrupting the water supply to the entire area. Carrying their unique, Barnes Wallis designed 'Bouncing Bomb’ and flying at just 30m above the ground to avoid radar detection, 617 Squadron’s Lancasters forged their way into the enemy territories, following the canals of the Netherlands and flying through forest fire traps below treetop height to their targets. Gibson’s aircraft (‘G’-George) is nearest with ‘M’-Mother of Fl/Lt Hopgood off his port wing and ‘P’-Peter (Popsie) of Fl/Lt Martin in the distance.

 

 

Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-L by David Pentland
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The image shows Lancaster AJ-L lining up for the attack on the Eder dam. Alongside is the portrait of AJ-L pilot Flt Lt D J Shannon. The first aircraft to attempt an attack the Eder dam, AJ-L made several unsuccessful attempts at lining up to drop the bomb, hampered by the difficult approach to the dam. After allowing AJ-Z to drop its bomb, AJ-L made a final successful attack on the dam, its bomb exploding accurately, but failing to cause a breach. The aircraft returned to base safely.

Crew of L for Leather :

Pilot : Flt Lt D J Shannon
Flight Engineer : Sgt R J Henderson
Navigator : Flg Off D R Walker
Wireless Operator : Flg Off B Goodale
Bomb Aimer : Flt Sgt L J Sumpter
Front Gunner : Sgt B Jagger
Rear Gunner : Flg Off J Buckley

 

 

Bravest of the Brave by Ivan Berryman
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The Lancaster B MkIII of Flt Lt J V Hopgood was the second aircraft to make an attempt at breaching the Möhne Dam on the night of 16/17th of May 1943. Already damaged by flak en route to their target, the embattled Lancaster ED925(G) (AJ-M) encountered intense flak and 20mm fire from the shore and from the towers of the dam itself. Flying Officer Gregory’s front gun turret had taken the full force of the flak burst during the journey, killing him instantly, and Hopgood himself was almost certainly wounded in the same explosion. Nevertheless, they pressed home their attack but, just moments from the release of the Upkeep bomb, both of Hopgood’s port engines took direct hits and burst into flames, and other rounds ripped through the starboard wing. Perhaps distracted by the sudden conflagration, Hopgood’s aircraft released its bomb just seconds too late to be effective. The bomb bounced over the dam wall, landing on the power station below where it exploded with devastating results. With blazing fuel now engulfing the wing of his crippled aircraft, Hopgood climbed to about 500ft where the wing failed, sending ED925 into a dive from which it would never recover. By jumping clear, clutching their parachutes just moments before impact, two of her crew survived to become prisoners of war.

Crew of M for Mother :

Pilot : Flt Lt J V Hopgood
Flight Engineer : Sgt C Brennan
Navigator : Flg Off K Earnshaw
Wireless Operator : Sgt J W Minchin
Bomb Aimer : Sgt J W Fraser (survived)
Front Gunner : Plt Off G H F G Gregory
Rear Gunner : Plt Off A F Burcher (survived)

 

 

Dam Defenders by David Pentland
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Mohne Dam, Ruhr Valley, 16th-17th May 1943. On the fifth and final attempt to breach the Mohne dam, Flt. Lt Maltby was flanked by the aircraft of Gibson and Martin who attempted to suppress the German flak defences.

 

 

Tragedy at the Eder by Ivan Berryman
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Following the successful attack on the Mohne dam on the night of 16th/17th May 1943, three Lancasters of 617 Sqn turned their attention to the Eder, some twelve minutes flying time away, accompanied by Wing Commander Guy Gibson to oversee the next attack. After several aborted attempts to obtain the correct height and direction for their bomb run by Flight Lieutenant Shannon (AJ-L) and Squadron Leader H E Maudslay (AJ-Z), Gibson called in Maudslay to try again. During his second approach, he released his Upkeep bomb too late. It struck the top of the dam wall and bounced back into the air where it exploded right behind Maudslay’s aircraft, lighting up the entire valley and causing considerable damage to the aircraft that had dropped it. Despite what must have been crippling damage, AJ-Z did manage to limp away from the scene and begin the return journey, but Maudslay and all his crew were sadly lost when their aircraft was shot down by flak at Emmerich-Klein-Netterdn. The Eder was finally successfully breached by Pilot Officer Les Knight’s aircraft, ED912(G), AJ-N, which returned safely.

 

 

Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-A by David Pentland
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The image shows Lancaster AJ-A attacking the Mohne dam, successfully causing a small breach. Alongside is the portrait of AJ-A pilot Sqn Ldr H M Young. This aircraft was shot down over the Dutch coast on the return journey, with the loss of all crew.

Crew of A for Apple :

Pilot : Sqn Ldr H M Young
Flight Engineer : Sgt D T Horsfall
Navigator : Flt Sgt D W Roberts
Wireless Operator : Sgt L W Nichols
Bomb Aimer : Flg Off V S MacCausland
Front Gunner : Sgt G A Yeo
Rear Gunner : Sgt W Ibbotson.

 

 

Dambusters - Moment of Truth by Ivan Berryman
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This was the moment when the massive Möhne dam was finally breached on the night of 16th-17th May 1943 during the top secret Operation Chastise. The specially-converted Lancaster B MkIII of Fl/Lt David Maltby ED906(G) AJ-J roars between the towers of the dam, having released the Upkeep bouncing bomb that would ultimately cause a cascade of water to flood into the valley below. Fl/Lt Harold Martin’s identical aircraft, ED909(G) AJ-P can be seen off Maltby’s port wing with all of its light ablaze, drawing enemy fire from the attacking bomber.

 

 

The Hardest Task by Ivan Berryman
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The 617 Sqn Lancaster of Guy Gibson (G for George) thunders over the Mohne Dam on the first attack run of the Dambusters raid, 16th - 17th May 1943. After several attacks on the dam, it was finally breached by the innovative bouncing bomb designed by Barnes-Wallis.

 

 

Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-G by David Pentland
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The image shows Lancaster AJ-G attacking the Mohne dam. Alongside is the portrait of AJ-G pilot Wing Cdr G P Gibson. The very first aircraft to attack the dams, AJ-G dropped its bomb short of the Mohne, but drew anti-aircraft fire away from the following Lancasters, before returning home safely.

Crew of G for George :

Pilot : Wing Cdr G P Gibson
Flight Engineer : Sgt J Pulford
Navigator : Plt Off H T Taerum
Wireless Operator : Flt Lt R E G Hutchison
Bomb Aimer : Plt Off F M Spafford
Front Gunner : Flt Sgt G A Deering
Rear Gunner : Flt Lt R D Trevor-Roper.

 

 

Determined to the Last by Ivan Berryman
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The Lancaster B MkIII of Flt Lt J V Hopgood was the second aircraft to make an attempt at breaching the Mohne Dam on the night of 16/17th of May 1943, ED925(G) (AJ-M) encountering intense flak and 20mm fire from the shore and from the towers of the dam itself. Just moments from the release of the Upkeep bomb, both of Hopgood’s port engines took direct hits and burst into flames as other rounds ripped through the starboard wing. Despite these fatal strikes, the brave crew pressed home their attack, but released their bomb just seconds too late to be effective. The bomb bounced over the dam wall, landing on the power station below where it exploded with devastating results. With blazing fuel now engulfing the wing of his crippled aircraft, Hopgood climbed to about 500ft where the wing failed, sending ED925 into a dive from which it would never recover. By jumping clear just moments before impact, two of her crew survived to become prisoners of war.

 

 

Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-N by David Pentland
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The image shows Lancaster AJ-N pulling away after its successful breach of the Eder dam. Alongside is the portrait of AJ-N pilot Plt Off L J Knight. This aircraft was the third aircraft to make the tricky attack on the Eder dam. Despite the approach being made difficult by the terrain, AJ-N successfully breached the Eder dam with its bomb, and returned home safely.

Crew of N for Nan :

Pilot : Plt Off L J Knight
Flight Engineer : Sgt R E Grayston
Navigator : Flg Off H S Hobday
Wireless Operator : Flt Sgt R G T Kellow
Bomb Aimer : Flg Off E C Johnson
Front Gunner : Sgt F E Sutherland
Rear Gunner : Sgt H E O'Brien.

 

 

A Wing and a Prayer by Ivan Berryman
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The Dams raids on the night of 16/17 May 1943 were notable not least for the incredible ingenuity shown by the Lancaster crews in their efforts to avoid detection by the enemy en route to their targets. P/O W C Townsend elected to fly his aircraft, ED886(G) O for Orange below tree-top height through a forest firetrap on his way to the Ennepe Dam, a feat carried out by moonlight alone. AJ-O made it successfully to its target where the Upkeep bomb was observed to hit the dam, but with no effect. Townsend returned to base at this perilous altitude, the crew observing that flak shells were bouncing off the sea in the German gunners’ efforts to prevent the Lancaster’s escape across the North Sea. AJ-O was one of eleven aircraft to return safely out of a total of nineteen that took part in the heroic raids under the codename Operation Chastise.

 

 

Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-N by David Pentland
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RAF Scampton, 16th May 1943. Ground crew deliver the top secret bouncing bombs to the Lancasters of 617 Squadron in preparation for Operation Chastise.

 

No Way Back by Ivan Berryman
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Despite crippling damage to their Lancaster ED925 (G), the crew of AJ-M continued to press home their attack on the Mohne Dam on the night of 16th/17th May 1943. With both port engines ablaze, Flt Lt J V Hopgood forced his blazing aircraft on, releasing the Upkeep bomb just precious seconds too late to strike the dam, the mine instead bouncing over the wall and onto the power station below with devastating results. ED925 attempted to recover from the maelstrom, but the fuel fire was too intense and the aircraft was tragically lost, just two of her crew managing to escape the impact to spend the rest of the war as PoWs.

 

 

Attack on the Sorpe by Ivan Berryman
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McCarthy's aircraft, ED825(G) AJ-T attacking the undefended Sorpe Dam with the village in the background and the church with the steeple that they had to avoid on the hilltop. Such was the difficulty of the approach to this dam - attacked along its length in contrast to the other dams which were attacked perpendicular to the dam - McCarthy needed to make a total of ten runs before the bomb was dropped accurately. Despite such determination, the bomb failed to cause any significant damage to the massive earth dam.

 

 

Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-P by David Pentland
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The image shows Lancaster AJ-P attacking the Mohne dam. Alongside is the portrait of AJ-P pilot Flt Lt H B Martin. This aircraft was the third to attack the Mohne dam, and although the bomb was dropped successfully, it veered to the side of the dam and exploded off target. The aircraft returned safely.

Crew of P for Popsie :

Pilot : Flt Lt H B Martin
Flight Engineer : Plt Off I Whittaker
Navigator : Flt Lt J F Leggo
Wireless Operator : Flg Off L Chambers
Bomb Aimer : Flt Lt R C Hay
Front Gunner : Plt Off B T Foxlee
Rear Gunner : Flt Sgt T D Simpson.

 

 

Moment of Truth by Ivan Berryman
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The 617 Sqn Lancaster of Guy Gibson (G for George) thunders over the Mohne Dam on the first attack run of the Dambusters raid, 16th - 17th May 1943. After several attacks on the dam, it was finally breached by the innovative bouncing bomb designed by Barnes-Wallis.

 

 

Attack on the Sorpe by Ivan Berryman
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Of the five Lancasters that formed the Second Wave of Operation Chastise, just one aircraft made it to the target, the Sorpe Dam, on the night of 16th/17th May 1943. American pilot Joe McCarthy had been forced to switch to the reserve aircraft due to technical difficulties and subsequently took off slightly later than his less fortunate comrades, all of whom fell either to German flak or to mishaps on their perilous journey. Upon arrival, McCarthy found the view of the dam itself to be unobscured, although mist in the surrounding valleys made it difficult to gauge his approach. As this was not a masonry dam, a different tactic was employed to the Möhne and Eder which involved flying along the length of the dam and dropping the Upkeep bomb, unspun, directly onto it. Their task was made all the more difficult by the fact that their approach necessitated McCarthy bringing AJ-T low over the hilltop village of Langsheid whose Church spire occupied the very point at which the aircraft had to pass to get a good run upon the dam. Undaunted and with great skill, ED825(G) made its run and released the bomb onto the dam, unassisted by the spotlight altimeter device that had proved so useful at the Möhne and Eder as AJ-T had not been fitted with this aid. Nevertheless, the Upkeep struck the dam and exploded as planned, sadly with little effect. McCarthy and his brave crew returned safely to Scampton, their landing made slightly difficult by a tyre that had been damaged by light flak on the return journey. The Sorpe was attacked again in the small hours of the morning when Flight Sergeant Ken Brown’s aircraft, AJ-F of the Third Wave arrived, once more striking the dam successfully, but again without breaching it.

Crew of T for Tommy :

Pilot : Flt Lt J C McCarthy
Flight Engineer : Sgt W G Radcliffe
Navigator : Flt Sgt D A MacLean
Wireless Operator : Flt Sgt L Eaton
Bomb Aimer : Sgt G L Johnson
Front Gunner : Sgt R Batson
Rear Gunner : Flg Off D Rodger

 

617 Squadron Dambusters Signatures : 

Corporal Beck Parsons

Vital to the whole Dambusters operation was the complete dedication by the ground crew of 617 Squadron. Personified by Beck Parsons. Joining the RAF in 1940, he trained as an electrician and worked with Avro Manchester’s with 207 Squadron at Waddington. In March 1943 he was posted to 617 Squadron at Scampton where he flew with Barnes Wallis during the tests on the bouncing bomb. As Electrical NCO Beck was responsible for the electrics on “B” flight at the time of the raid, together with ‘Top Maintenance’ on five of the Lancaster’s, including those of Guy Gibson and Mick Martin.

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Corporal Kenneth Lucas (deceased)

Ken Lucas joined the RAF in June 1940, and trained as ground crew for bomber Command. He was sent first to 49 Squadron at RAF Scampton, before transferring to 617 Squadron upon its formation, Involved in all the major servicing of the aircraft before the raid including fitting the motors that drove the belt that spun the bomb, and attaching the critical lamps to the underside of the aircraft. Sadly, Ken Lucas passed away in January 2011.

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Flight Lieutenant Bill Townsend CGM DFM (deceased)

Pilot and Captain of Lancaster AJ-O, he attacked the Ennepe Dam. Transferring to the RAF from the Army in 1941, Bill Townsend served a tour as a pilot with 49 Squadron, before joining 617 Squadron, at the time a Flight Sergeant. As part of 617 Squadron Bill Townsend flew Lancaster ED-886 codenamed AJ – O for Orange in the famous dambuster raid of May 1944. Flight Sergeant Townsend flew his bomber and crew in the third wave of the famous raid. After the first two dams (Mohne and Eder) were breached, O for Orange was tasked to attack the Ennepe dam. With no anti-aircraft firing at them, they had time to do three trial runs before they released their bomb, but it failed to damage the dam. Forced to fly back at tree top level by enemy action, his Lancaster was the last to return. It limped home short of one engine. He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for his courageous actions in the raid. Bill Townsend was later promoted to Flight Lieutenant. He had been a pupil at Monmouth and after the war studied at Lincoln College, Oxford. He became a business man and a civil servant after his studies. FLt/Lt Townsend passed away in April 1991 , there with a flypast by 617 Tornadoes at his cremation on the 15th April 1991

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Flight Lieutenant Edward Johnson (deceased)

He joined the RAFVR early in the war, serving with 50 and 106 Squadrons. When he joined 617 Squadron in 1943 he was the bomb aimer on Lancaster AJ-N piloted by Les Knight on the Dambusters raid. During that raid they first attacked the Mohne Dam and then went on to attack and actually breach the Eder Dam, for which he was awarded the DFC. Later in 1943 he was shot down but evaded capture and during a two month journey returned to England via Holland, France, Spain and Gibraltar. Sadly, Edward Johnson died 1st October 2002.

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Flight Lieutenant George Chalmers DFC DFM (deceased)

George Alexander Chalmers was born on February 12 1921 at Peterhead in Scotland. He was educated at Aberdeen Academy before working briefly at a local Crosse & Blackwell factory and joining the RAF as a boy entrant. After boy's service and qualifying as a wireless operator and air-gunner, Chalmer joined the RAF in 1938. Geogre Chalmers was posted to No 10, a two-engine Whitley bomber squadron at Dishforth, Yorkshire, from where he took part in leaflet-dropping operations over Germany after the outbreak of war. In August 1940 Chalmers transferred to No 7, the RAF's first four-engine Stirling bomber squadron which was operating from Leeming. There followed a spell with No 35, a four-engine Halifax bomber squadron, with which Chalmers was fortunate to survive an attack on the battle cruiser Scharnhorst at La Rochelle - his captain managed to make base despite being severely wounded and piloting a badly-damaged aircraft. When he joined 617 Squadron he was a Flight Sergeant and served as wireless operator on Lancaster AJ-O during the Dambusters raid which was piloted by Bill Townsend. Awarded the DFM for his part in the attack on the Ennepe Dam he was commissioned a few months later and awarded the DFC after 65 operations. In 1946 Chalmers was granted an extended service commission, and served in No 617 and No 12 Squadrons until 1950, when he was posted to No 38, a Lancaster squadron in the Middle East. He was released as a flight lieutenant in 1954, and served in the Reserve until 1961. Meanwhile, he had joined the civil service at Harrogate, where he worked for the Ministry of Defence dealing with the RAF's technical requirements. In this period his advice was much valued in the sphere of flight refuelling. On his retirement from the MoD in 1984, the company Flight Refuelling hosted a farewell party for him at which he was hailed as an "expert in specialised spares procurement", especially in relation to a refuelling system of outstanding value used by the RAF in the Falklands conflict. Sadly, George Chalmers passed away in August 2002 aged 81.

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Flight Sergeant Grant S McDonald RCAF (deceased)

Grant McDonald was the rear gunner on Lancaster AJ-F flown by Ken Brown. On the way to the Ruhr, the gunners shot up and damaged three trains in an eventful trip before reaching the Sorpe Dam. Sadly, we have learned that Grant S McDonald passed away in May 2012.

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Flying Officer Dave Rodger DFC RCAF (deceased)

Canadian Dave Rodger joined the RCAF in 1941, and was posted to 97 Squadron before joining 617 Squadron in March 1943. He was rear gunner in the Lancaster of Joe Mccarthy, AJ-T, that attacked the Sorpe Dam. Sadly, Dave Rodger died on 1st September 2004.

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Harold Roddis

Flight Mechanic on the 617 Squadron Dambuster aircraft.

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Sergeant Frederick E. Sutherland RCAF

 ‘Doc’ Sutherland was the front gunner on Les Knight’s Lancaster AJ-N that went to the Mohne Dam, and then successfully attacked and breached the Eder Dam. Shot down four months later, he managed to evade capture and escape back to England with the help of the Resistance movements, returning through Holland, France and Spain.

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Sergeant Raymond E. Grayston (deceased)

Ray Grayston had been serving in 50 Squadron when he was posted to 617 Squadron in March 1943. The flight engineer of Les Knight’s Lancaster AJ-N, they attacked and successfully breached the Eder Dam, Ray was shot down on 16th September 1943, and was taken to Stalag Luft III as a POW. Sadly, we have learned that Ray Grayston passed away on 15th April 2010.

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Squadron Leader George L. Johnson DFM

Joining the RAF in 1940, George Johnson served with 97 Squadron before joining 617 Squadron. Bomb aimer on American Joe McCarthy’s Lancaster AJ-T, they attacked the Sorpe Dam, for which he was awarded the DFM. Commissioned a few months later, George retired from the RAF in 1962.

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Squadron Leader Ken Brown CGM RCAF (deceased)

Born 20th August 1920. Joined the Canadian Air Force in 1941, and joined No.617 Sqn in 1943. Pilot and Captain of Lancaster AJ-F, he attacked the Sorpe Dam. Ken Brown died 23rd December 2002.

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Squadron Leader Les Munro DSO DFC RNZAF

New Zealander Les Munro was the Captain and pilot of Lancaster AJ-W assigned to attack the Sorpe Dam, but was forced to turn back en-route to the target after heavy flak damage over Holland had rendered his aircraft unable to carry on with the operation.

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